Call for increased allied referrals for OA patients

The qualitative national survey of 229 GPs showed the average doctor had 260 patients with OA, seeing 25 per week.

There was a degree of ‘heart sink’ associated with osteoarthritis, with one in five GPs considering it to be an emotionally draining condition to treat, the survey found. 

GPs believed they could treat patients reasonably well if barriers to accessing effective help with lifestyle change and physical strengthening were overcome, said arthritis researcher Professor David Hunter from the University of Sydney and Royal North Shore Hospital.

“Treatments are currently acute, reactive and poorly coordinated, but it is a chronic disease and needs appropriate referrals,” he told MO.

The number of visits to allied health professionals like dietitians and physiotherapists under the Chronic Disease Management scheme should be increased, he said.

The current arrangement of five subsidised visits per